Stool Ingestion: Harmless? (My turtle eats its poop.)
Q: "My turtles are eating their own/each other's stools. I can pick the stool up when I feed them outside the tank. But I can't simply monitor them 24 hrs a day. Is there any way to prevent turtles from eating stools?" A: No. Turtles taste their world by taking things into their mouth. Chances are, your turtles are not eating their stool but are just testing it. If it's not food, they'll spit it out again. It is common for many animals to eat their stool to reclaim minerals that are hard to obtain otherwise. Only problem: If you have one turtle that is sick, for example with salmonella or another intestinal parasite, this will be passed on to other turtles. However, cantagion is pretty much a done deal in a tank anyway. Many turtles will inspect their own poop. Since a lot of their sense is in tasting, they will actually taste it. Many animals eat some of their own eliminations. This is thought to be to make the most of trace minerals. In any case, it is harmless. However, if you see swimming poop in the tank, and you don't have a filter, you should scoop it out with a net to keep the water cleaner. Also, make sure your turtle gets all the trace elements it needs.